During these times of partial lockdown while we still practice social distancing we as humans have strived to continue life with as much normalcy as possible. This has seen that a lot of our activites have been required to take place virtually, activities such as meetings, parties and competitions as well.
A few weeks ago on the 27th of September 2020, two members of The Mooting Society competed in the Daring Debate competition which took place virtually. This was a first of its kind which they not only performed beautifully well in, but won the competition taking home a cash prize of 1000 US Dollars as well and will be representing Africa at the global rounds. This is not only exciting news for The Mooting Society and The University of Lagos but Africa as well which would have the best team representing us.
We had a chat with them recently where we spoke about their experience, the inspiring lessons learnt as well as a few interesting aspects of the virtual competition. In this interview with the recent champions of our society we delve into the difficulties as well as ease of virtual competions.
Read their interview below;
Q: Please introduce yourselves.
JEMIMA: Hii! My name is Jemima Ojo, 400 level law student at the University of Lagos.
GLORIA: My name is Gloria Oziohu Alonge and I am a 3rd year student of the faculty.
Q: Why Daring Debate Competition?
JEMIMA: My predecessors in the Mooting Society continually place an emphasis on carrying on the legacy of the society by pushing yourself to do more than you’re already doing.
This was the inspiration behind my decision to try out for the competition.
I wanted to contribute my quota and also develop myself in the process.
GLORIA: Well, this was the first edition of the African Daring debate competition so I had no prior knowledge of the competition. I came across the flier for the competition on the WhatsApp group chat for new entrants of the mooting society and I decided to give it a try.
Q: What’s your stance on the topic, which was Environmental Sustainability: is it possible without the government?
JEMIMA: I was privileged to argue in line with my personal beliefs which is that environmental sustainability is not possible without the government. I believe that what is required in this fight is the concerted effort of all actors i.e the government, people, international Organizations and corporate bodies. Attempting to achieve the goal without the government would result in futility as the task is too large and diverse for other actors to achieve on their own.
GLORIA: I personally believe that to ensure environmental sustainability, we need all hands on deck and this includes the government. In a continent like Africa however, where governmental processes are bureaucratic in nature, individuals need to intensify their actions towards ensuring environmental sustainability rather than sit around, waiting for governmental actions that take forever to come into effect.
Q: What thoughts went through your mind when you qualified for the competition?
JEMIMA: I was thrilled to have qualified and I resolved to put my best into it.
GLORIA: Like I mentioned earlier, I entered into the competition just to give it a try so I was pleasantly surprised when I qualified.
Q: How does it feel to have been part of the top two hand picked by the organizers?
JEMIMA: Initially, I was a bit disappointed because I had envisaged bringing home the prize alongside the other reputable members of the society that qualified for the competition. But I had to accept that life is unpredictable and get to work.
GLORIA: It feels humbling, especially knowing that there is still so much room for improvement.
Q: We’re you nervous at all? If you were rate how nervous you were on a scale of 0-10.
JEMIMA: Oh, I was very nervous because I had never represented the Mooting Society externally. On a scale of 1-10, I’ll say 10. But I prayed, reached out to a couple of friends and family members and I regained my confidence.
GLORIA: On a scale of 0-10, I was probably 11. We were the eleventh school to speak and I think my temperature kept rising the closer we were to speaking.
Q: Do you think the fact that the competition was done virtually made it more or less difficult?
JEMIMA: Oh! It made it a lot harder because there was more to worry about. From proper internet connections, to making sure my surroundings were fit for the competition and also getting my family members to keep it down because I was participating in the competition.
It did have its upsides though. It provided more room for preparations and I was less tensed because I was in the comfort of my home.
GLORIA: I think it made it easier for me. The fact that I was within the comfort of my room really helped in calming my nerves. Although extra care had to be taken to prevent network issues.
Q: Describe your experience in the competition?
JEMIMA: It was awe inspiring.
The very fact that I met so many individuals with a depth of knowledge with regards to the topic made it an exhilarating experience. I enjoyed listening to the judges speak so passionately about it in their comments and watching other participants answer the questions that followed.
I won’t trade it for anything.
GLORIA: It was exciting and enlightening. I am also glad that I got to “meet” with other contestants from various universities.
Q: What were you most excited about going for the competition?
JEMIMA: I was excited about the exposure and the possibility of winning.
GLORIA: Going for the competition, I was excited about the experience. I sincerely believe that the process of any journey is extremely important for self development.
Q: What lessons would you say you learnt based on your experience?
JEMIMA: I’ll say “take risk and succeed”. I went into the competition without expectations of even qualifying internally and we won the African rounds. It just taught me to keep pushing and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.
Also and this might sound cliche but, hard-work pays. There are no shortcuts to success.
GLORIA: I would say that I got to learn more and have a better understanding of climate related issues. I have learnt that if everyone does their quota in protecting and caring for our environment, our actions could go a long way in sustaining the environment and helping millions of people.
Q: What do you think has changed for you after this competition?
JEMIMA: My perspective about my abilities have changed. I’m more confident in myself and I’m making conscious efforts to continuously develop my new found strength.
GLORIA: I think a major thing that has changed for me is my interest in ensuring that I get better in all spheres of life as well as protecting the environment in my own little way.
Q: How do you feel about winning the competition especially virtually?
JEMIMA: I’m really grateful and I’m happy that I get to represent Africa in the global rounds!
GLORIA: I feel grateful and excited.
Q: What do you think the society has to improve on from this experience?
JEMIMA: It was a thoroughly pleasant experience as the society through the DORs, current and past members and the President provided immense support. I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to improve it.
GLORIA: The society has been very helpful in terms of tutoring and training. However, I believe there is always room for improvement in this regard. The training and tutoring was excellent. There is however always room for improvement in all areas to ensure that the society progresses. I don’t have a specific area of improvement to recommend, I’m only speaking generally.
Q: What do you have to say to people thinking of trying out next year?
JEMIMA: Please go for it. Don’t underestimate yourself. Put your best into it as well and be hopeful.
GLORIA: I’d say give it your best shot, be calm and enjoy the experience.
Q: If you don’t mind us asking, what do you plan to do with the prize money you won? We’re curious.
JEMIMA: I’m undecided at the moment.
GLORIA: I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I guess it would be added to my savings till I decide on what to do with it.
Q: Any other comments?
JEMIMA: See you after the global rounds!
GLORIA: None at all. Except that I really miss being in school.
It was on that note we ended of our eye opening as well as encouraging interview with the champions.
This just goes further to show that even a pandemic cannot stop creativity and talent. The only limit is the mind.
We wish them luck in the upcoming global rounds and hope that their words as well as actions have inspired more of our members to show their abilities by making efforts to participate in more competitions such as this.
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